Students conduct Life Savers survey
DANVILLE – A survey of 194 Vermilion County residents shows that their favorite Life Savers candy flavor is cherry.
It also shows their least favorite flavor is raspberry.
The results were released on Wednesday by some first-graders at Northeast Elementary Magnet School, who con-ducted it as part of a unit on graphing.
Teacher Margaret Houpt said the project required the students to add and count by twos, threes, fours and fives. It also called on them to categorize information and figure out what to do with invalid information, among other things.
"This is problem-solving at its best," Houpt said. "By doing this, they can see how math and all of these other skills they're learning ... can have a meaningful application in their lives."
For the project, several parents and grandparents helped Houpt make 12 survey posters resembling large red, yellow, green and blue Life Savers. Then they took the posters to work and asked colleagues to record their favorite flavor.
Sherry Douglass, who took a survey to County Market-Towne Center, said the project made her co-workers nostalgic.
"They really enjoyed it," said Douglass, whose granddaughter Morgan Douglass is in the class. She said many reminisced about a grandparent or favorite aunt giving them the candy with the hole in the center or receiving a roll in Christmas stockings.
A number of respondents shared a memory with the class. One man wrote that as a youngster, food allergies kept him from sweets, including chocolate and soda pop. When he went grocery shopping with his mother, he would find Life Savers, one treat he could have.
"I would hold up a roll to my mother and (ask), 'Are these okay?'" he wrote. "She would look down at me and smile, 'yes' ... I would eat one after another until I got to my favorite flavor orange."
Another man's favorite flavor is Pep-O-Mint, the first flavor, introduced in 1912.
"It reminds me of my grandfather, who used to slip them to me with my mother's disapproval," he wrote.
In the classroom, the students worked in small groups, reading results and charting them before coming together and tabulating the results on a large poster paper graph with help from student teacher Kim Marcus.
"Oh, no!" Marli Perez said, shaking her head and dropping her it in her hands when cherry took the lead.
"Mrs. Houpt, Mrs. Houpt," Cadin Spires cried. "Cherry was the most popularest."
Besides math, Houpt uses the project to teach writing; economics, in how Tic Tacs and other mints have caused Life Savers sales to drop; social studies, in that they were named for life preservers, which became more popular after the Titantic sank; and even science, through triboluminescence.
"When you bite down on a (Wint-O-Green) mint, you can produce a bright blue spark," Houpt said, explaining the word that explains the charge that's produced when grinding wintergreen and sugar together.
"(The project) really crosses all curriculums, and I've learned so much along with the kids," she said. "That's why I love this school. They really encourage doing innovative things like this. It makes school more fun for me and them."